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Taking a Plea Bargain Versus Fighting Your DUI Case

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Oct 28, 2022

You're probably scared when you've been arrested for a California Vehicle Code 23152 VC DUI.  You've lost control, you're worried about going to jail, and you can't decide how to handle a case. 

Most people don't want the case and start thinking of ways to escape it.  One way to get out of a DUI is to take the case to a jury trial to fight it and win.

Taking a Plea Bargain Versus Fighting Your California DUI Case

You have a lot at stake.  Your driver’s license is at stake, and you could end up in a situation where you lose it for many months, even years, depending on whether it's your first, second, third, or fourth DUI

Your future is also at stake because if an employer sees that you have a DUI on your record, they will look at you differently than somebody with a clean record.

The bottom line is that you want to do everything you can to defend yourself properly if you get arrested for a DUI.  Prosecutors use two primary laws to file charges against somebody for driving under the Influence.

Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC makes it a crime to drive under the influence of alcohol, and Vehicle Code 23152(b) VC makes it a crime to drive with a BAC of .08% or higher. Most are charged under both statutes.

Most driving under the influence cases are prosecuted as misdemeanors but could be filed as a felony under certain circumstances, such as having prior DUIs on your record and if somebody was injured in an accident. Our Los Angeles DUI attorneys will take a closer look below. 

Initial Review of Your DUI Arrest

So, you'd like to sit down with an attorney to talk about your case and the situation so you can make that decision. 

That's one of the things that I do when I meet with people in a DUI situation who are trying to decide whether to fight the case or work out a deal.  We talk about:

  • evidence the prosecutors are probably going to have;
  • your blood alcohol reading to see how high it was;
  • the reason the police pulled you over, and
  • can they prove that you weren't safe on the highway to operate a motor vehicle?

If they can prove that, then they can get you for a DUI.  The answer is to take a deal in that circumstance if you don't have any other option, and the police can prove you're guilty of a DUI.

What If Prosecutors Have Issues Proving a DUI?

If, on the other hand, there are problems or proof – your blood alcohol level is close to the legal limit, there might be an illegal stop – then we might want to file a motion and take the case to a jury trial. 

This is one of the first things evaluated when you sit with an attorney like me for a consultation.  I will put my 30 years of experience to work for you, defending thousands of DUI cases. 

We're going to look at everything possible, and we'll decide whether to fight the case or whether you should take some resolution.

Can You Challenge the Blood Alcohol Level?

We want to assess whether we can attack the blood alcohol level.  California laws say that if you're a .08 or greater, you're driving under the influence.

Thus, we would have to present evidence to refute that if you want to challenge a prosecution for a DUI.  I see most DUIs in Los Angeles County because there are so many people.

Blood Alcohol Level in a California DUI

When you look at that blood alcohol level, the closer you are to the .08, the better the chances of attacking it.

Let's say you blew a .08; there's an argument that the breath machine used to register that result is not 100% accurate and has an error rate of .02. 

This means you could be a .06.  If we can prove that you're not above the legal limit, we can make a solid argument that you're not DUI. 

But please remember from above, there are two sections under Vehicle Code Section 23152; one deals with blood alcohol level and whether you can safely operate a motor vehicle. 

So, technically, you could be a .06 but still be driving under the influence if you can't pass all of the field sobriety tests.

Perhaps you were diving dangerously or at a high rate of speed when the police pulled you over. Maybe they could convince a jury that you were driving drunk and unsafe.

What Are the Related California Laws?

Reviewing the Possibility of Accepting a Plea Bargain

If you decide to take some resolution, we'll talk about what it should be.  Sometimes when we meet at first, we're missing pieces of the puzzle. 

I'll give you a perfect example.  You get arrested for a DUI, but they take blood.  They don't have your breath.  We need the blood result because if it comes back under a .08, you're in an excellent position to fight the case, or we might be able to cause them not to file it. 

Although I will tell you I've seen .06's and .07's filed because two Vehicle Code Sections control DUI cases as discussed above.

Plea Bargains in California DUI Cases

One of them says if you're a .08 or greater, it's going to be assumed that you're DUI.  In that circumstance, if you're a .08 or greater, they've got an argument to get you.

The other one says, you drank alcohol, and you couldn't safely operate a motor vehicle.  That makes it a little more complicated. 

Now, if you blew a .07, for example, but you failed all of the field sobriety tests according to the police, you were driving dangerously; you were driving fast, whatever the case may be.  Now they might be able to mount an argument that you're still DUI under Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) VC. 

So, if you've been arrested for a DUI, you need the best.  You've come to the right place if you need an attorney with experience deciding when to fight and negotiate. 

I've been doing DUIs for 30 years.  I've worked for the District Attorney's office; I've worked for a superior court judge, and I've been defending people just like you since the early 1990s.  Pick up the phone. 

Make the call.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.  Get experience that counts.  The Hedding Law Firm is in Los Angeles and offers a free case evaluation via phone or contact form.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.

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